Rocks of Ramanagar

Ramanagaram is a taluk centre in Bangalore Rural District known as the land of seven hills. This town lies on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway.

  Shivaramagiri, Yatira-jagiri, Somagiri, Krishn-agiri, Revannas-iddeshwara Betta, Jalasiddeshwara Betta and Sidilakallu Betta are the seven hills that dot the landscape of this taluk. As one travels on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, one can see the Ramanagaram hills with their rocks aligned majestically.
Ramanagaram is located at a distance of about 48 kms from Bangalore. About 4 kms away on the outskirts of the town lies the Ramagiri Hill. Also called Ramadevara Betta, Shivar-amagiri, Kaakasura Betta, Kapotagiri, this hill resembles a lingam when viewed from the east, Ganesha from the west, a serpent from the north and Lord Hanuman from the south.  

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The hill is about 3066 feet above the sea level. Rocks of various shapes and sizes can be seen here. Some of them resemble a whale, a pigeon, a human being and the three-headed Brahma. During the British period, Ramanagaram was called Closepet. The granite available here was much sought after in the bygone days. The hill has about 450 steps and the western side of the hill has the Kharkhaane Bande, remains of a magazine and carvings of Garuda, Maruthi, Ganapathi and Venugopal on the rocks. One can reach the top of the hill after passing through three doorways. There is an inscription on the Kharkhaane Bande.

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There is a pond on top of the hill. The Rameshwara shrine is situated on its right bank. Images of Linga and Nandi can be seen on the rocks here. On the top of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a small tower built of bricks and mortar. 

There is also a platform by the sides of the Sukanaasi.This temple was earlier called the Thryamb-akeshwar temple. A Parvathi shrine can be found close to this temple. Behind this temple, is a choultry, believed to have been constructed by Kempegowda. 

The Sri Rama temple is located on the other side of the pond. The Navaranga has statues of the Vaishnavite saint Raman-ujacharya and Nammalwars in yogic postures. Figures of serpents and the Shree Chakra are carved on the ceiling. In the sanctum sanctorum, is an image of Sita and Rama and an image of Hanuman. The shikara is in the Dravidian style. It is believed that Kempegowda constructed the Rangamantapa.

Behind the Rama temple, there is a rock called Homiakumbhi Bande. A flight of about 50 steps takes you to the top of this rock. It is believed that Kempegowda found a treasure at a place called Naidile theertha here. The great Vaishnavite saint Ramanujacharya is said to have visited this hill during his sojourn in these parts. As though to give credence to this event, the adjoining hill is called Yamiraja Betta. Historians opine that this place was under the domain of Mauryas (268-372) and later came under the control of Gangas, Cholas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijaya-nagar kings, Yelahanka Naadaprabhus, Mysore kings, Hyder Ali and finally Tipu Sultan. 

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Kempegowda Sr. began to rule at Yelahanka near Bangalore in 1510 A.D. He visited Ramagiri in 1530 A.D. and it is said that he constructed a fort here. According to experts, Ramagiri became Ramagir-idurga during this period. In 1638-39 A.D., Ranadullah Khan assessing the strategic significance of this place, laid siege and emerged victorious after vanquishing Immadi Kempegowda.

In 1791 A.D. Tipu Sultan transferred his arms and ammunition to this place and strengthened the fort. It was around the same time that the third Mysore War was raging. Tipu expected Lord Cornwallis here but his calculations went awry as the British, anticipating the impending danger, reached Sriran-gapatna through Kaankaanhalli, according to historians. The same year saw Capt Welsh hoisting the Union Jack on this hill.

For ages, this place has been home to Jains, Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Veerashaivas and Muslims. They have been living together in harmony. There are stories mentioning Ramagiri in Valmiki and Thoravi Ramayan. In Revannasiddeshwara Ragale, a work by Harihara, there is a reference to this place. The 16th century work of Renukaradhya, Bheemeshaadri Mahasthala Purana, also makes reference to this place. 

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According to some research scholars, a Sarvajna Vachana which states "Sidilu Kallina Balagadelu Koteya Nagiri" refers to the seven hills of Ramanagaram taluk. 

The place also finds mention in Manteswamy poems, Nallappa's 'Hydernaama, Kempegowda's 'Jayaprashasthi' and Col. Home’s 'Selected Views of Mysore'. Buchanan who visited this region has given an account of the fort of Ramagiri and also the presence of tigers here. 

Considered as Mecca of Rock Climbers, Ramanagar has plenty of opportunities for the budding and the professional alike. Climbs of various grades along with few bolted routes as well are present.

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